Category Archives: Abortion

1000 Words: Pot

I predict my adopted home state of Indiana — and there’s a line I never dreamed I’d write before I got here — will be among the last, if not the very last, to legalize recreational pot.

Even if our state legislature wasn’t so overly-populated by prudes and prigs who think the 1936 panic flick, “Reefer Madness,” was a documentary, I’d be skeptical the Indy statehouse gang would be capable of much lawmaking that made sense. It is, after all, a body from which emerged our current state attorney general, Todd Rokita, who choreographed a persecution campaign against a Hoosier OB-GYN doctor for performing an abortion on a ten-year-old girl who’d been raped. Turns out the criminal case the AG lusted for against the doctor for actually performing the procedure wouldn’t have held much water, so he fell back on the state Medical Licensing Board to reprimand her and fine her $3000 for violating the ten-year-old’s privacy.

See, Dr. Bernard had told a reporter about the case during a pro-abortion rally soon after the procedure. Like any reasonable human being, the doctor pointed out the lunacy of forcing a child to carry and deliver the fetus of her rapist. Many states of late have outlawed virtually all abortions, even those following criminal acts like rape and incest. The state from which the child came was Ohio, which already had outlawed abortion in almost every case, including hers. So, the kid and her caretaker crossed the state line into Indiana to prevent her from becoming a pre-teen mother. Rokita and any number of anti-abortionists went gaga and portrayed Bernard as a blood-thirsty baby killer. Since Indiana at the time had yet to outlaw abortion (following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade) the best Rokita and company could do was enter a blot on Bernard’s record as a professional and lighten her wallet. Funny thing is, Bernard had never even mentioned the child’s name or revealed any info on her other than she was 10, from out of state, and raped, but that was good enough for the board to rule against her.


The board, by the way, is headed by a fellow named Dr. John Strobel, who specializes in electro-cardiology. In fact, he surgically implanted a defibrillator in my chest nearly a decade ago. He’s a fine practitioner in his field but is also an outspoken opponent of abortion, having taken to the streets to rail against it. The deck, pretty much, was stacked against Caitlin Bernard.

Many on the anti-abortion Right are more offended by the fact that the rapist in this case was, as they describe him, an “illegal immigrant.” The petition linked to in the preceding sentence reads, in part, “It looks like Former President Donald J. Trump was right that Latin America isn’t always sending their best” to this country. The petition also claims the “abortion industry” is a front for a massive sexual abuse cabal.

And people wonder what I mean when I say the worst thing about democracy is the people.

The Bernard case is just the latest weirdness this state’s lawmakers and enforcers have perpetrated. Here’s another from the legislature’s benighted past: back in 2016 — the year that gave us President-elect Trump — the Indiana Senate and House passed a bill forbidding municipalities from banning single-use plastic bags. You, know, those billions and billions of items clogging up our waterways, creating artificial islands in the oceans, strangling gulls and terns and sea turtles and other critters, and, overall, imperiling the environmental health of the planet. Liberal outposts like Bloomington seemed poised to ban plastic bags, as many other cities and the state of California already had done so, but the Indiana statehouse moved quickly to quash that impulse. There’s little the Indiana Senate and House finds more pleasurable than stifling the urges of this state’s few progressive enclaves.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a clump of plastic trash three times larger than the entire country of France.

That might seem a bizarre thing to take pleasure in. And it is. It can be argued that if our prudish and priggish state legislators were amenable to more earthy pleasures like getting baked, they’d be less prone to obsessively try to punish places like Bloomington for being…, well, Bloomington.

More than a hundred years ago, this nation embarked on a crazy, and ultimately failed, attempt to stop people from drinking booze. The only things that resulted from the 13-years-long experiment were the populace’s enhanced thirst for the forbidden stuff and the establishment of a powerful organized crime syndicate. For whatever reason, today there still are many Americans who want cannabis to remain illegal. As if that, in itself, might deter many people from indulging in the drug. Many more, though, want decriminalization.

Just this past month, Minnesota became the 23rd state to allow people over the age of 21 to possess and use recreational marijuana. Some 37 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Yet marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin and LSD, by the federal government. Joe Biden promised to support decriminalization during his 2020 run for the presidency. Better than 9 of ten respondents to a 2021 Pew Research poll were in favor of some form of decriminalization. All signs point to an eventual blanket end to pot prohibition, not necessarily tomorrow or next week but some day.

Indiana’s surrounded on three sides by states that allow recreational use. Kentucky, Indiana’s fourth neighbor, still outlaws it. On the other hand, that state continues to honor Jefferson Davis, who was born there but moved elsewhere to eventually lead an armed rebellion against the United States. An estimated 620,000 people were killed in the US Civil War, more than the total number of deaths in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War combined.

Count the Kentucky legislature among those who might benefit from taking a puff or two the next time they meet..

1000 Words: Pro- or Anti-

I’ve passed the sign countless times on State Road 46 just this side of Ellettsville. And it wasn’t until the other day that the full meaning of it hit me: WOMB radio. I don’t have a pic of the actual LED sign but here’s the logo from WOMB’s webpage:

Filling the O, naturally, is the image of a fetus, probably about six or seven months along in its development, far past the time the average pregnant woman gets an abortion. The Pew Research Center reported on January 11, 2023: “In 2020, 93% of abortions occurred during the first trimester – that is, at or before 13 weeks of gestation, according to the CDC.”

Now, the Roman Catholic Church isn’t the first or only advocacy organization to exaggerate to makes its point. Hell, I recall seeing one environmental group try to scare the bejesus out of the world by claiming climate change just might wipe out life on the planet by the year 2050. You don’t get very far by saying, “Hey, folks, we’ve got a really serious problem on our hands but it ain’t gonna affect us for a few hundred or even a thousand years.”

No, if you want to motivate people, if you want them to dip into their wallets to contribute to your cause, you make them think disaster’s right around the corner. Or, like WOMB radio, you portray the statistically least likely potentially aborted fetus in order to shake up the largest number of drivers passing by its LED sign.

For pity’s sake, during The Loved One’s and my weekly Sunday drives through Southern Indiana, we see any number of anti-abortion billboards featuring a cuddly tot, grinning and half-tented in a crib blanket, accompanied by a message reading, essentially, Why Would You Kill This?

Well, you wouldn’t, because that kid’s already been born and abortion is a procedure done almost exclusively during the first trimester of pregnancy. The 45th President of the United States, when he was running for office sometime in 2016, even claimed many doctors were performing abortions after the child had been delivered which, like so much of what he’s ever said, is utterly dishonest. That would be called murder and if such a practice does hold in this holy land, the twice-impeached president would have been the very first to point it out, a terribly unlikely possibility considering he’d never before shown any concern for the life of any human being, whether recently delivered, ten years old, 25, 55, or 95.

I can’t explain why the WOMB sign eluded my close attention until now. Generally, I’m alert to all road signs, even reading them aloud, much to The Loved One’s mild annoyance. Certainly the bazillions of anti-abortion signs on SR 37, US 50, Interstate 69, and pretty much every paved byway in the state imprint themselves in my memory. Maybe it’s the high-tech aspect of WOMB’s sign. There’s this quasi-Luddite aspect of my nature that causes me to shy away from tech for tech’s sake, as evidenced by my refusal to carry a smartphone. But that’s just me.

But now WOMB is etched in my brain. Again, I’m moved by how obsessed half this nation is with abortion. All the churches of whatever faith TLO and I pass every Sunday seem compelled to post a sign or billboard. And the vast majority of said signs and billboards carry an anti-abortion message. Of all the ills in the world abortion, apparently, is the only one that counts with people who believe there’s such a thing as a god.

Back to WOMB’s website, the footer message on its main page reads (all sic):

From WOMB to the TOMB we are 100% pro-life. No contraception. No abortion. No euthanasia… NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

Given their exuberant use of capital letters and exclamation marks, the people who run WOMB really mean business.

Funny thing is, there’s no mention of capital punishment, which is odd considering so many religious types are spectacularly mistrustful of the government. I mean, governments from the township level to the superpower seem too often incapable of efficiently, quickly, and properly filling potholes, keeping banks from collapsing, preventing enemies from floating spy balloons over their territory, and even making sure trains carrying highly toxic chemicals are operated without fear of derailment and explosion. Yet, those same government officials are given a free hand to snuff out the lives of convicted criminals.

Criminals, of course, who’ve been convicted by a justice system demonstrably warped by money and racism. I’ve never yet seen an Indiana church sign or billboard saying No Capital Punishment Ever!

Church folks like to tell the world they are caring and loving, that helping their sisters and brothers is the highest form of dedication to godly principles. Yet their refusal to consider abortion even at risk of the mother’s life or her inability to care for and provide for her unborn child, coupled with their abhorrence of mercy killings and assisted suicides for people wracked by unbearable pain, untreatable cancer, inability to take a deep breath, or soul-crushing dementia appears to me to be flat out mean.

To be sure millions and millions of pious folks care deeply for humanity and might well perform supreme sacrifices for the benefit of others, but the obsessive anti-abortion gang doesn’t strike me as being part of that altruistic subset.

The anti-abortion movement seems a symptom of tribal supremacy. We don’t want our women to abort, it sounds as though they’re saying, because we have to have the most people. And it’s been the countries with the most people who traditionally have ruled, either over huge swathes of the planet or the entire globe.

I suppose this instinct was important when small, nomadic bands of people lived in fear of other small, nomadic bands of people on the other side of that big hill and across that wide river. They had to have more warriors than the other side did. Perhaps that still holds today. China boasts nearly five times as many people as the United States does. Should the two nations go toe to toe, China’s got a hell of a lot more cannon fodder to lose.

Perhaps being anti-abortion isn’t pro-life at all.

1000 Words: Murderers

Here’s the heart of the anti-abortion argument: voluntarily ending a pregnancy before its term is the moral, and now legal, equivalent of killing a born human being.

At any given anti-abortion rally or demonstration, you’ll find numerous “Abortion Is Murder” signs. This is the most positive spin I can imagine applying to the movement that took over the Republican Party beginning in the mid-1970s and gained steamroller momentum during the Reagan Years. Those who decide to abort, those who help them get an abortion, those who provide medical assistance in the surgical procedure itself, are parties to a capital crime.

Among Roman Catholics and other god-ists, participation in an abortion condemns everyone involved to a sentence of eternal damnation, an exile to hell. In that sense, the souls of the people involved in an abortion are as stained by mortal sin as those of murderous mobsters, serial killers, war criminals, assassins, and everyday brutes who’ve snuffed out another human being’s life.

Notice I said this was a positive spin. The reason I say that is there are at least a half dozen other, less savory, reasons many people oppose reproductive rights. They include misogyny, fear of female sexuality, desire to control women, tribalism, and a few others. I can’t accurately state how many anti-abortionists fall into any of the aforementioned categories but I feel confident to assert a huge swath of those prohibitionists are driven by rationales less lofty, less spiritual, less altruistic, than the simple Abortion Is Murder doctrine. But for the sake of this argument, I’ll focus on those who hold zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as close to their bosom as any human who’s ever emerged from a mother’s birth canal.

Many of the new state laws triggered by the US Supreme Court’s recent reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision criminalize doctors, nurses, technicians, and any and all friends, family, and loved ones who perform, assist, or enable women to get abortions. Abortion, these laws clearly imply, is a crime. The worst crime a person can commit. Murder.

This makes sense if one is to accept the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is an actual human being with guaranteed constitutional rights. Now, I don’t believe that, nor do the vast majority of people who espouse reproductive rights. But, again, millions of people believe with all their hearts the clump of cells in a woman’s Fallopian tube, making its way toward the uterus, is as human as you and me.

A Person?

Why, then, do none of the new state laws restricting abortion, as well as those long in the books, call for criminally charging and legally punishing the women who choose to abort?

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if many of the Abortion Is Murder folks would be four-square in favor of putting a woman who aborts in criminal jeopardy. Yet the legislators and the prosecutors who are eager to put the new and existing state laws into practice have steadfastly avoided criminalizing women who abort.

In fact, if one were to accept the Abortion Is Murder idea, a woman who aborts must be held criminally responsible for her act. She has killed a human being. She called a clinic to set up an appointment, asked her best friend to drive her there the day of the procedure, and voluntarily submitted to the medical personnel’s physical act of snuffing out the human life that heretofore had been thriving within her womb.

She is a murderer.

At least in theory.

Separating the woman who chooses to abort from the criminal consequences of abortion is the equivalent of saying the person who drove the getaway car, the armed lookout, the abettor who provided the hideout, and the fence who laundered the loot all are to be held criminally responsible for the bank robbery. Only the actual person who stuck the gun in the teller’s face and ran off with the bag of cash would be exempt from prosecution.

You’d find that ridiculous, wouldn’t you? I do. Anybody would.

So why do the abortion restriction laws let the woman off the hook?

The only conceivable reason must be that everyone understands a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy is the ultimate personal choice, one that countless women have been forced to make since human beings came to realize they could actually abort. That realization came about thousands of years ago, so it’s not some newfangled, commie, socialist, homosexuality-grooming, Black Lives Matter attempt to bring down all of Western Civilization. Carrying a fetus to term is a life-altering thing. Raising a child changes a woman’s life in ways none of us males can even comprehend. And deciding to terminate the clump of cells within her Fallopian tube or uterus is a choice women agonize over. The idea that there are scads of women running around getting pregnant every half hour and then blithely submitting to abortion after abortion is as false as saying every grown man is a child molester or all politicians are crooks.

It’s a simplistic, non-thinking take on a complicated world.

A rational person must be compelled to call for our state legislatures to enact laws mandating the prosecution and criminal punishment of all women who choose to undergo an abortion. It’s murder, isn’t it?

I wonder how far that would get the anti-abortion state senators and representatives. It might cost those politicians votes. Many votes, inasmuch as a majority of the American electorate is in favor of maintaining a woman’s right to abort.

We all agree murder is a crime. We don’t all agree abortion is murder. Even the lawmakers restricting or outright banning abortion understand that.

1000 Words: Obsessed

The Loved One and I take regular, weekly drives through the hinterlands of southern Indiana. Now, before you tell me I ought to get out of the car and walk or hike a bit, please be aware I can hardly walk due to still having one hip joint with Category 4 osteoarthritis. That means the ball and socket no longer have any cartilage cushion between them. It’s bone on bone, baby, and that’s a formula for howling pain.

But enough of that. Today’s screed has to do with people who seem to have a one-track minds.

As we make our way through small towns and winding farm roads, we see an endless stream of billboards addressing abortion. And the topic ain’t controversial. Every single one is an anti-abortion scold.

Some examples:

My heart began beating at 23 days — accompanied by a picture of a cute little toddler with a blanket partially covering her head.

I felt pain before I was born — with a similar aww-inspiring pic alongside it.

A baby is God’s miracle gift.

Black people didn’t choose slavery. The Jews didn’t choose genocide. Babies don’t choose to be aborted.

And of course, the old standby:

Choose life.

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If we were to try to count the number of such signs during any of our Sunday drives, we’d soon become overwhelmed by the immensity of the task.

Now, for the sake of this post, I’m going to give the people on whose property these sign are erected, as well as the people who pay to have them put up, the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume they honestly and truly believe ending a pregnancy before birth is a crime, both morally and, now that the Trump Supreme Court has had its say, legally. I’m not always so generous, though. My sneaking suspicion long has been that a lot of anti-abortion-ists simply can’t bear the idea that women like to have sex. They think all women have to do is not engage in it. Problem solved.

But, damn it all, these women keep spreading their legs and getting pregnant and then blithely murdering the infants inside them. And they do it again and again and again.

Let’s ignore the blatant falsehoods in that line of thinking. Let’s ignore it all right now. Let’s, as I say, give these folks the benefit of the doubt.

Today, we were behind a guy in a pickup plastered with anti-abortion bumper stickers, including this one:

93% of Woman Who Had Abortions Regret It.

Which is rather presumptuous on his part, wouldn’t you think? In his mind, those seven percent who are cool with their decision to abort must be ghouls.

Again, let’s assume these folks hold dearly in their hearts the unshakable belief that all human life is precious and to end one is the most heinous crime of all.

Why, then, is abortion the only ending of life that drives them to put up signs, to hang banners down from highway overpasses, to harass women trying to enter abortion clinics? Why, why, why?

They’re not out hanging banners calling for an end to the murder of already-born people. They’re not calling for an end to war. They’re not agitating for safer cars and highways, where tens of thousands of Americans each year are killed in crashes. They’ve yet to weight in on the Flint, Michigan water supply crisis that was responsible for countless deaths. The don’t have bumper stickers calling for the arrest and conviction of the Sackler family for their part in the opioid epidemic.

I don’t see any such signs, placards, billboards or bumper stickers decrying anything but the ending of a pregnancy prior to term.

They don’t march around their town squares demanding an end to rape.

They don’t hint at any concern for industrial pollution or global warming, both of which already have caused immeasurable sickness and death around the world.

That’s why I refuse to call their crusade “pro-life.” It’s not.

It’s solely anti-abortion. Anti- a few other things as well but, as I say, let’s ignore that today.

Hot Air

Religious Freedom

The question has been put to me (and others) by loyal Northern Indiana Pencillista David Paglis:

I wonder if those opposed to the Religious Freedom [Restoration] Act would be in favor of legally requiring Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services and if not, why not.

For whatever reasons, those Catholics who are most flamboyantly passionate about their religion seem to be passionate most about abortion. Capital punishment? Meh. War? Sometimes ya gotta do it. Nuclear proliferation? Silence. Abortion, though, gets the uber-Catholic blood to boil. The only thing approaching it as a sheer reactionary trigger is homosexuality.

A more pressing Q. might be What is it with Catholics and sex? But that’s a topic about as inscrutable as quantum electrodynamics.

Anyway, let’s tackle David’s query.

Acc’d’g to pretty much everyone’s interpretation, Indiana’s spanking new SB-101 2015, AKA RFRA, allows business proprietors to do things like refuse service to LGBTQ folks if their (the proprietors’) religion sees them (LGBTQs) as sinners bound for the eternal flames of hell. We’ll ignore the utter absurdity of our state legislators penning laws to accommodate peoples’ belief in inanities like eternal damnation and a flaming hell. A brief reminder: The calendar tells us this is the year 2015; hell, natch, is a Mesopotamian cultural concept, meaning it was a an attempt to understand our shared baffling mortality by the very first proto-civilized Homo Sapiens sapiens more than 5000 years ago.

I might hope we’d have learned a few things since then.

Nevertheless, an alarming swath of the American pop. still buys into the hell thing. So much so, in fact, that they loathe even being around those whom they’re certain are on a highway to the place. And so sure are they of this that they’ve pressured our democratically elected representatives to codify it.

Again, in the year 2015, in case you’ve forgotten.

The law tells us we can’t make people do things that are in violation of their religion’s tenets. Indiana University Maurer School of Law prof. Daniel Conkle (a supporter of the new law) suggested last week in an Indy Star op/ed piece that laws such as RFRA protect, for instance, Muslim prisoners in their practice of Islam within the confines of the joint. Conkle also cited a Pennsylvania state court ruling that people could set up soup kitchens in city parks in violation of municipal statutes if their religion demanded they feed the homeless.

The government wanted to make the Muslim prisoner shave his beard and hoped to force the soup kitchen operators to stop ladling broth in the park. Under similar “religious freedom” laws, per this argument, the gov’t was barred from doing so. Huzzah, Conkle concludes, for these laws.

No one, though, has attempted to argue that Muslims should be forced to eat barbecued (pork) rib tips at the Taste of Bloomington. Nor has anyone demanded that soup kitchen operators make their broth available to lawyers, doctors, and hedge fund managers. Quite frankly, those of us who despise this new law don’t give a good goddamn if Muslims eat pork or that hedge fund managers are being deprived of free soup.

Nor do we, as a rule, care that Catholic hospitals don’t do abortions. In fact, many dioceses and hospitals have banned even the dilation & curettage procedure because it is often used as an alias for abortion. That’s like refusing to let customers to enter a bank lobby because bank robbers always use the lobby.

In any case, we should be demanding that Catholic hospitals, especially those that are the only health care facility for many miles around, provide abortion services. If you’re going to open up an ice cream parlor in this free society, you should be compelled to serve everybody who comes in except those causing mayhem, are public nuisances, or pose a threat to public health. Same with hospitals. Abortion is legal in this holy land. It’s a medical practice generally regarded as safe. If you open up a hospital, that means you should treat everybody who comes in the door using every therapy and procedure that’s been okayed by contemporary medical science.

Otherwise, don’t open a hospital. And try to think a little bit less about how gross sex is. And lose the habits and wimples while you’re at it. It’s 2015, for chrissakes.

Here’s Gov. Mike Pence signing RFRA last week, surrounded by officials of the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Israel, the Rashidun Caliphate, as well as various ascetics, mystics, and fundamentalists. In the year 2015. In case you’ve forgotten.

Pence RFRA Signing

Hot Air


Ever since I first became aware of the abortion debate, back in 1970 when I was 14 and the Roe v. Wade lawsuit was filed in US District Court, I’ve had the feeling that a lot of pro-abortion advocates had a guilty conscience.


Justice Harry Blackmun Wrote The Eventual Decision

The name they called their movement — pro-choice — seemed a kind of misdirection, sort of like a red-handed kid saying to his mom, “But I didn’t really shoplift that record, I didn’t hide it or anything, I just carried it out of the store and nobody stopped me so, y’know, it’s their fault. It’s not really stealing. Honest.” Even as a tender teen, I couldn’t figure out why people fighting for abortion rights didn’t say they were pro-abortion.

Now I know the pro-abortion people didn’t all have guilty consciences. Some, maybe, yeah. But the vast majority of them didn’t feel that aborting an unwanted fetus was a mortal sin. Or even a venial sin. [For those of you who weren’t raised in Catholic schools, the Church makes distinctions between gross sins and easily forgivable ones.]

Still, all the arguments made by the “pro-choice” crowd were weighted down with excuse-copping and apologies. By the time Ronald Reagan was canonized into the Presidency, most “pro-choice” politicians were saying things like “I’m not in favor of abortion but I believe a woman should have the right to choose.”

Which sounds like a losing argument if I’ve ever heard one.

Bumper Sticker

Okay, Then Where Do You Stand?

The abortion rights argument often went, If woman are denied abortion, the babies they don’t want may be neglected, beaten, emotionally abused, tormented, starved, thrown in Dumpsters, and so on, a litany of horrors guaranteed to turn women seeking abortions into harpies that would terrify Adolph Hitler.

And some people wonder why the concept of feminism is not universally embraced. Feminists, Ma & Pa Murrica surmised, want abortions, plus they’re prone to throwing their babies into Dumpsters.

At times it seemed the “pro-choice” argument really was, We want every woman to have the right to an abortion and we’ll work like hell to make sure none of them ever gets one.

Like most liberals and Democrats of the last 45 or so years, the “pro-choice” people were mealy-mouthed, obsessively equanimous, tepid, and apologetic. The truth is the American electorate — hell, the electorate in any country on this Earth — despises people like that. We want — and by we, I mean human beings — leaders who are bold, strong, and confident. One of the reasons why the Conservative movement thrived in this holy land even after the supposed death of the Right in 1964 was that people like Saint Ronald “brazened it out.” The Right Wingers who would eventually take over this country stuck to their principles even when it seemed they were a minority of a dozen. Reagan himself refused to soften his rhetoric in the face of all sorts of advisors and friends urging him to do so.

Reagan won the presidency in 1980 because he appeared to tower above all the other mere politicians. He was so adept at brazening it out that even when he and his people were caught beyond a shadow of a doubt selling arms to Iran to finance the Contras in Nicaragua, he not only denied wrongdoing, he claimed the evidence simply wasn’t there.

It would have been like that shoplifting kid saying, “I didn’t steal anything. There was no record. There wasn’t even a record shop.”

And getting away with it.

Today, thanks in large part to pols who emulate Reagan’s appearance of towering strength and “pro-choicers” who shrug and alibi too much, abortion rights are being eroded and chipped away from one end of the country to the other.

That’s why I’m eager to dig into Katha Pollitt‘s new book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. Pollitt has been clanging the bell for feminism — unapologetic feminism — for years. She writes for The Nation as well as pretty much every other magazine and newspaper that claims to have the ear of the Left.


Katha Pollitt

Adam Gopnik reviewed her book in The New Yorker this week. He wrote:

“Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” has two major originalities. First is its lack of bowing or scraping for its pro-woman position. Abortion, in Pollitt’s view, must be seen not as a moral compromise requested by poor, weak women—we’re sorry, and we promise we’ll make it rare, but please, forgive us, we’ll still need it in extremis— but as a positive doctrine of women’s control over their own bodies, and of their own lives and destinies. Abortion, she insists, is a right integral to women’s own autonomy, not a privilege to be used as infrequently as possible.

Now, there’s an argument I can get behind.

In fact, if someone were to ask me, I’d say a woman’s pro-abortion argument should go like this:

I want to fuck. I want it as much as any man. It is in my nature to want it. I do not necessarily want to be saddled with the lifelong responsibility of caring for a human being because of it. No one else’s personal morality nor particular religious viewpoint should interfere with my ability to fuck and abort if I so desire. I am in charge of my own body!

Okay, clean up the language a little bit, sure. But still, present the case like this and the “pro-choicers” just may have a winner. It certainly couldn’t do worse than the arguments they’ve been offering since Roe v. Wade.

Hot Air

A Prayer

Opponents of same-sex marriage, acc’d’g to news reports, are holding prayer vigils today near the federal courthouse in Cincinnati.

They’re begging the putative creator of the Universe to intercede in Earthly affairs and prevent three appeals court judges from allowing men to marry men and women to marry women. The arguments from four states that have outlawed such marriages are to be reviewed beginning this morning.

Many pious folk are falling to their knees, desperate that their heavenly father should hear them in these perilous times.


Think of it! In fact, allow me to employ my own formidable powers of imagination to portray the sound and feel of those prayers:

My dear lord, font of all love and forgiveness, the source of all light, my rock of morality and truth, hear my plea.

I beg of you to consider my heartfelt longing above those of passengers in an airplane that is heading into the side of a mountain, to prefer my humble wish before those whose children are dying, as we speak, of ebola infection, to act upon my deep desire at this moment, even as young women are undergoing forced genital mutilation, or are being raped, or who are watching as militias are dismembering their innocent sons and daughters. I ask you to bestow upon me your tender mercies and grant my entreaty above all those whose bodies are ravaged with cancer, with heart disease, and with lung disease. I yearn for you to hear me above those who suffer from mental illness, from poverty, from hunger. I kneel before you and wish you answer my call even as missiles arc over Gaza, as armies assemble near the Ukraine, as drug gangs behead innocent civilians, as hundreds of thousands of nameless and faceless individuals batter, stab, poison, strangle, suffocate, burn, and otherwise torment their fellow human beings.

Please, o lord, do not permit the judges to allow men who wish to kiss one another, who hope to hold and caress one another, who aspire to create a home with one another and have our god-given state sanction those acts.

Father in heaven, hear me. Look with scorn upon women who desire to remove their clothes in the presence of and in unison with other women, for this causes them to feel pleasure and allows them to express tender love for each other. All merciful one, please hear me and cause the judges to forbid women who love one another from visiting each other in the hospital, from inheriting each others’ belongings, and from receiving any potential tax credits or benefits as this will lead to the end of our faithful civilization.

With piety I beseech you, dear god. With love in my heart, with boundless compassion and clemency, I call upon you to fuck those queers bad.


I wonder if god will listen.

The Sanctity Of Life

Don’t know if you’ve caught this yet, but a woman named Jenny Kutner wrote about discovering she was pregnant last week in The first thing she felt after making the discovery was anguish. She wrote that the positive reading on her home pregnancy test made her heart “start pounding so loud I really could hear it in my ears, just like in the movies. I left the bathroom with the test in my hand and went to go show my boyfriend, who held me while I cried and shook and tried to catch my breath.”

That doesn’t sound like the joyous beginning the anti-abortionists would have us believe all conceptions are.

Kutner continues: “What I definitely, definitely don’t want, immeasurably more than I don’t want to have an abortion, is to be pregnant or have a child.”

So she makes an appointment to have an abortion.

Planned Parenthood

Her piece, entitled, “I’m Having An Abortion This Weekend,” reveals her thoughts and fears in the days preceding the procedure. For my dough, she truly grasps how important human life is.

You’re On Your Own, Users

More than 11,000 Indiana residents have received treatment for drug addiction since 2010, thanks to a federal grant program called Access to Recovery.

It’s not easy at all to shake the monkey off your back. Addicts need help. They can’t do it alone.


We’ve learned, too, that it costs more to repair the damage done to individuals and society by drug addiction than it does to help addicts get off the stuff. Of course, that doesn’t matter one bit to our esteemed legislators in Washington. Earlier this year, Congress slashed funding for ATR. Now Indiana won’t get any more federal dollars for its programs.

ATR-funded programs in 11 Indiana counties will be forced to cut off aid to many addicts as well as to fire a significant number of staffers.

And you thought this was a do-nothing Congress.

Hot Air

A Law Supreme

I’m very, very lucky I didn’t have internet access yesterday.

If I had, it’s a sure bet I would have written something that would have gotten me into the hottest of water with the FBI, the Secret Service, the NSA, Academi (nee Blackwater), Control, Sgt. Friday, TJ Hooker, Dirty Harry and any other law enforcement cartoon characters you can imagine. I’m hot. And if you’re not, well then, you and I have wildly divergent views on what this free society should look like.

The US Supreme Court Monday not only ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby refusing to pay for slut pills, it also further chipped away at organized labor in this holy land. Some thoughts:

  • Not only are corporations people, acc’d’g to this Court, but they are religious.
  • Justice Antonin Scalia has positioned himself as a strict constructionist ever since he came on the national scene. He’s not; he is a theocrat.
  • The five justices who voted in favor of Hobby Lobby are, natch, white men. They also were nominated by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Anybody, therefore, who bleats that there’s no diff. between the Democrats and the Republicans is an idiot.

Conservative Justices

Boys Club

  • Clearly, the five Republican-nominated justices cherish the right to believe in a mythical creation figure who has issued a laundry list of dos and don’ts for humanity over the right of women to control their uteri. Kids, that’s just bizarre.
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissent for the minority. She is becoming a superstar on the interwebs now, with people posting pull quotes from her angry denunciation of the decision all over social media.
  • The Supreme Court also ruled that gov’t employees who don’t want to be members of unions don’t have to pay dues. That means those workers can benefit from collective bargaining w/o sharing the cost. And the Republicans say they’re four-square against freeloaders!
  • Justice Samuel Alito wrote that public employee unions are “lobbyists.” These Reagan/Bush/Bush dudes, my friends, are awfully confused.

In other Supreme Court news last week, the Nine ruled unanimously that municipalities cannot bar anti-abortion protestors from verbally assaulting or otherwise violating the personal space of abortion clinic clients on public sidewalks. As you know, any number of cities had instituted buffer zones to keep “pro-life” zealots away from women trying to enter the clinics. (Read Sara Benincasa’s remembrance of being so assaulted when she went to an abortion clinic some years ago.) I get the reasoning behind the decision, even if I don’t like it. So I was wondering, can atheists now stand outside churches and temples and shout “Suckers!” at worshipers trying to enter therein?

Overall, the importance of the November mid-term elections cannot be overstated. If the Senate goes GOP, we’re going to move even further toward the Radical Right than we have already..

Choose Your Friends Carefully

In other news of late, the influx of undocumented Central American kids in this holy land has resulted in heart-wrenching pix of and stories about the young ‘uns being warehoused in cold, dirty, concrete-floor holding centers. But the self-idolators and tinfoil cap wearers who run the crunchy, conspiracy-theory laden website Natural News have gleaned an even more insidious bit of fallout from this sad state of affairs.

Mike Adams, who’s the “brain” behind Nat. News, wrote that all these dirty immigrant kids are going to pollute our population with all their yucky germs.

Here’s Adams’ headline:

Unloading disease-carrying immigrants in large US cities a ‘perfect storm’ for pandemic disease outbreak

In the body of the piece, Adams writes that one of the reasons we should fear the kids is that they haven’t been vaccinated. A practice, BTW, that Natural News has opinionated time and again is horribly dangerous to our Aryan American citizenry.

I’ve always felt the zealot natural food and anti-chemical crowd has a bit of a Perfect Race streak in it. As in, sure, the Green Revolution has fed hundreds of millions of starving souls in Africa and Asia but, golly gee, are all those saved lives worth it if we get a trace of synthetic fertilizer in our organic cookies? There are trade-offs in every decision, as any adult would acknowledge, but the hyper-natural gang is convinced that American food must be pure, pure, pure even at the cost of a potential mass starvation in India.

Immigrant Detention

Not Perfect

Adams adds:

If infectious disease isn’t bad enough, this immigration wave also consists of “sex offenders, murder suspects and gang members….”

Old Joey Goebbels would have been proud.

BTW: Adams feels the Obama Admin. is way cool with this wave of undesirables because, “[a]fter all, these are future Democratic voters!”

Lots of natural food, sustainable agriculture, anti-Monsanto-ites seem to dig Mike Adams — who calls himself the “Health Ranger” — because, well, he and his peeps are four-square against GMOs and such.

That’s scant reason to hitch one’s wagon to a bunch of crypto-Nazis. It’d be like the vegetarians of America plastering bumper stickers of A. Hitler on their cars simply because he, too, refused to eat meat.


Hot Air

Real-time Abortion

If you haven’t had the chance to see that video of the woman undergoing an abortion, here it is:

The woman is named Emily Letts. The video of the surgical procedure went viral after it had won a “Stigma Busting” competition sponsored by the Abortion Care Network.

She explains her decision to record the procedure in Cosmopolitan magazine online. Just a few things I learned, reading her essay:

  • Emily was an actress at one time
  • There is such a thing as an abortion doula
  • She seems intelligent and independent, yet she engaged in sex without birth control, leading to her pregnancy
  • She was called a Nazi by one anti-abortionist

Here’s one thing I’d known about her already: she is not a criminal. Abortion is legal and condoned by medical authorities in the locale where her procedure took place.

21st Century Meh?

Make sure to check out that live video stream from cameras mounted outside the International Space Station.

You’ll see how we humans are next to nothing in relation to this planet.

One troubling thing: The streaming site has a social sidebar for viewers to chat with each other. People from all over the globe are oohing and aahing over the moving image. And you may read the term moving on several levels. It seems, based on my unscientific, casual observation, that one of the least represented countries is this holy land.

ISS HD Video Experiment

A Snippet Of The Image From The ISS

Imagine that. We Americans have paid good cash — that otherwise could have gone toward erecting a sky-high statue of Miley Cyrus — for the ISS and now it’s showing us pix our spinning home in all its jaw-dropping glory. You’d think we’d be glued to our LCDs watching this world slowly pass beneath the live cams. But no. We’ll leave that to the saps from Brazil, who seem to be giddy over the whole thing.

Ah, it’s understandable: We Americans are too busy ignoring that mass kidnapping story out of Nigeria.

Welcome To Our World

Dig this pic I found on the world’s greatest gossip site, dlisted:

From dlisted

Friends and loyal Pencillistas, if I were to select one single image to show the first visitors to Earth from another planet that would convey to them he true meaning of the United States of America, it would be this one.

Air. Hot.

Let ’em Eat Cake

One in seven Americans puts food on the table with the help of Food Stamps.

That’s 14 goddamned percent of our brothers and sisters in this holy land.

Without Food Stamps, many millions of our brothers and sisters would go hungry or suffer insufficient nourishment.

Food Stamps

The Republican House leadership, meanwhile, doesn’t give a holy shit about its American brothers and sisters. In fact, the Tea Party-led party doesn’t even consider all Americans to be related to them. Not when so many Americans are brown or black or equipped with ladyparts or, ugh, poor.

As you well know if you’re a loyal reader, I call America a holy land only in the spirit of smart-assedness.

Lavish Banquet

No Poors Allowed

We are not holy.

Girls, Ugh!

Speaking of holy, Pope Frankie has made a name for himself as a progressive. Well, relatively so, in comparison to his immediate predecessors and the boys club that constitutes the leadership councils of the Holy Mother Church.

Pope Francis

Occupy The Vatican

He has, for instance, spoken eloquently about the poor and the growing inequality of wealth across the globe, and against war and our “culture of waste.” Cool, so far.

Not long ago, he speculated that atheists who lead good lives might even gain entrance to heaven.

In July, il Papa shrugged and said, “Hey man, who am I to judge? in regard to folks who dig sex with members of, well, their own sex.

Cool again, eh?

But wait, there’s more. A wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis reveals that the successor to St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the rock upon which the Roman Catholic Church stands, and the most powerful man in the world who wears a tiara pronounced that his outfit has become obsessed of late. “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods…,” he said. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

He also added, “I have never been a right winger.”


It’s as though good old Jorge Bergoglio is lobbying to become the Michael Moore of the sacred set.


Separated At Birth?

The Pope is teeing a lot of people off, natch. Anti-abortionists in this holy land at this very moment are searching for evidence that Bergoglio is a socialist, a commie and, for that matter, not even born into the Catholic religion. I misplaced the link but I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere, has accused him of producing a phony baptismal record.

As for the gay thing, well, scads of grown men who have taken vows never to have sex with women and who wear skirts are tut-tutting and wagging their fingers at the Pope. He admits, “I have been reprimanded.”

Nevertheless, he still holds the crozier. Hell, you’d think the Church is a mere rubber-stamp vote away from ordaining women as priests.

Whoa. Not so fast.

Either because he is against the idea or he can read in the tea leaves that his cabinet and the rank and file among the priesthood might rise as one against him were he to come out for the ordination of women, Pope Francis said in the interview that there’s no chance women will become mid-level managers within the Catholic corporation. Unsaid, of course, is the understanding that they’ll never, ever, ever reach the boardroom. “The door,” he said, “is closed.”

Now we know: The worst sin a Catholic can commit is to possess a vagina.

Woman Is The Nigger Of The World


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